Before you hangs a stags head. It has been fashioned into a hood and cloak. The stag’s face fits just above your eyes and the antlers are unnaturally large, twisting out like branches. They are decorated with curious hanging trinkets; human teeth on wire, a mummified hand and strips of leather. The stag has no eyes, the gaunt sockets are stitched closed and painted with bloody symbols. These are in some ancient language, gibberish; a magic user or scholar will be able to tell on a success that the hood has been enchanted with great power but they will not know what it does, until it is too late.
If a player or an NPC places the hood on their head they will need to make a Save vs. Magic.
- Failure (by less than half): The hood and cloak constrict the wearer. They succumb to a blistering headache and flashes of a memory. The adventurer can see and feel that they are a stag running from a hunting party. The adventurer then feels the pain of their head being severed but these effects will end once the head is removed. Removing the hood will deal 1D4 damage.
- Failure (by more than half): The hood and cloak fuse with the adventurers hair and scalp, fixing it in place. The images of the stag hunt are not flashes, the adventurer experience the whole memory of the stag being chased down by a coven of witches and tied into a ritual circle. They experience the pain and sensation as their head is severed whilst they are still alive with a rusted ritual blade. The memory continues in a loop, leaving the Adventurer enacting the hunt as they run and try to escape their captors, clawing at their own neck. This never ends. The hood can be removed by a magic user or cleric with any magic-cancelling spells however, the madness remains and the character is considered “dead”.
- Success: If the adventurer is successful, the hood and cloak function as a normal fashion accessory. The trinkets attached to the horns are tokens belonging to human sacrifices. One per day, an adventurer may use the stags cloak to invoke the power of one of these tokens. Once the token is used, the power cannot be used again and the token turns to ash, falling from the antler. Only one token can be used per day. The tokens effect either lasts only 24 hours or for the duration specified. The stags head has four tokens from previous sacrifices already attached (if these are not used by an NPC during play) and the player can add tokens. See “Restoring the Hood”.
The Warlock Token
A set of teeth bound by a length of wire and attached to the antler of the stag hood. The warlock does not give visions of a memory, instead he whispers to the Adventurer when it is used, giving instructions on bloody rituals in an alien language. If the Adventurer uses this token they will babble in an unnatural shrieking language for 30 seconds and then cast a randomly rolled spell of any level from magic users spells.
The Hunter Token
A strip of leather made from the hide of a hunter. The totem gives the adventurer flashes of a hunt gone wrong, where creatures of the wood hunt down the hunter and strip her of her skin like she did to so many of them. The totem grants the Adventurer a temporary 1D4 bonus to their ranged attack rolls for the duration of combat.
The Thief Token
A shriveled child’s hand hangs from one of the ears of the stag. Once used, the adventurer experiences flashes of a vision of a young child on city streets stealing from pockets and picking locks. The vision ends with the child in the forest, reaching out to take a bag from a wizened old crone. The totem allows the user to add a temporary 2 points to any Sneak or Sleight of Hand skills for the rest of the day.
The Healer Token
A strip of leather with a religious tattoo still visible. The totem gives the adventurer flashes of a holy healer chased from their village accused of witchery. He makes his way into a clearing and sees a collapsed man. He rushes over to help, only for the man to turn and drive a sacrificial knife between his ribs. This totem allows the user to cast 1 randomly determined healing spell.
The Consequences of Success
Each time the hood is taken off and put back on the adventurer will need to make a Save vs. Magic. The consequence of successfully using a token causes the token to turn to ash and the power is no longer usable. Once all tokens are gone, the hood will need to be restored with new tokens or abandoned. Whenever a token is successful the hood will become fixed to the adventurers head and will not be removable. Depending on your setting, this causes them to stand out. If this in in 16th to 17th century England, for example, they can’t walk into a town without being accused of witchcraft.
No powerful (possibly game breaking) magical item should be without consequences. Let’s be honest, nothing good ever happens without a catch.
Restoring the Hood
Only a magic user can restore the hood with new tokens. The magic user will need a token of a fallen enemy or sacrifice. They must sit within a ritual circle, wearing the hood and inhaling crushed herbs for three days per token. The hood will lead them in an alien chant and allow them to fix a token to the hoods antler bestowing a power (use the existing Tokens as guidelines, its always fun to add in extra consequences based on the origin of the token). The ritual deals 1D6 damage per level of the character.